Treasuring the Gift: Scripture Reflection Day

The translation of the Bible that we hear at Mass is changing this Advent.

This day of prayer, study and discussion is a good opportunity to reflect together on what a gift the word of God is for the Church.

So if you want to learn more about the Bible and discover and share practical tips to treasure it even more - this is the day for you. Register for this free event here.

This event will begin with Mass at 10:00am in St Margaret's Chapel at The Gillis Centre.

'Then there will be prayer, study and discussion, featuring talks from invited speakers and a panel of testimonies from lay people from across the Archdiocese.'

We will conclude with Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction in the Chapel at 2:30pm.

A light lunch will be provided and there is free parking onsite.

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Schedule

10:00am:Holy Mass (optional) in St Margaret's Chapel.

10.30am: Teas/Coffee, sign ins, Gillis Centre main hall

11.00am: Welcome from Fr Jamie McMorrin. The translation of the Bible we hear at Mass is about to change. Change is never easy, but this is an opportunity for us to appreciate anew the gift that the Bible is and help us to engage with it more deeply, both at Mass and in our everyday lives.

11:10am: Session 1: What is the Bible?

11:45am: Session 2: Treasuring the Bible in Personal Prayer

12:30pm: Lunch break (light lunch provided)

1:00pm: Session 3: Treasuring the Bible at Mass. Looking at the lectionary, the cycle of readings. How can we engage with the readings more fruitfully? What is the relationship between the Word of God proclaimed in the readings and the Word of God made flesh in the Eucharist?

1:30pm: Session 4: Panel Discussion and Lay Testimonies

2:30pm: Eucharistic Adoration in St Margaret's Chapel

2:45pm: Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament

3.00pm: End

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Treasuring the Gift - Sacred Scripture Reflection Day takes place at The Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB, on Saturday 8 June 2024. The event is organised by the Catechetics Commission of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Register here.

A voice for the unborn in Edinburgh

Thanks to everyone who attended the annual Pro-Life Chain in Lothian Road, Edinburgh, on Saturday.

The event is organised by The Society for Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and it saw around 200 people gather as a peaceful witness to the lives of the unborn who are killed by abortion.

SPUC posted on Facebook: "A huge thank you to all pro-lifers who stood in defence of life yesterday at SPUC’s Edinburgh pro-life chain.

"Over 200 people attended the pro-life chain, as a powerful act of witness to remember the lives lost and hurt by abortion in the UK.

"The courage of our pro-life community is truly inspiring and together we will make abortion unthinkable!"

The day began with recitation of The Rosary at Sacred Heart Church in nearby Lauriston Street, led by Fr Gerard Hatton (St Patrick's Church in The Cowgate) and joined by the Marian Franciscans, who travelled from Dundee for the event.

Paul Atkin, from the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Office said: "The Pro-Life Chain reminds us of the infinite dignity of every human person from the first moment of their conception.

"The Church is committed to protecting the weakest and most vulnerable people in society who are created in the image and likeness of God.

"In Scotland today, unborn children and their mothers are the most threatened members of society when even their right to life is taken away.

"It was great to see so many Catholics from all over Scotland supporting this peaceful witness to the goodness of life."

To find out more about the work of SPUC, visit https://www.spuc.org.uk/. Find out more about pro-life work in the Archdiocese by contacting prolife@staned.org.uk

WATCH: Fr Ninian's call to the priesthood

Father Ninian Doohan, a priest at St Patrick's, The Cowgate, Edinburgh, reflects on his journey of discerning and answering the call to priesthood in this Shalom World interview.

He emphasises how God's call unfolds gradually over time, requiring a response to the grace already given.

From his childhood in Glasgow to his formation in Australia and Belgium, Father Doohan's path was marked by encounters with God's presence, often amidst challenges and uncertainties. Watch below or on YouTube via Shalom World.

If you are interested in exploring the priesthood contact our Director of Vocations Fr Andrew Garden at vocations@staned.org.uk   

Venerable Margaret sincliar Pilgrimage

The Annual Margaret Sinclair Pilgrimage is a time of prayer, stillness and reflection to ask for her intercession and that she may be Scotland's next 'blessed'.

Save the date - schedule to follow.

MA Applied Catholic Theology - Webinar

Everything you need to know about the forthcoming MA in Applied Catholic Theology Course at St Mary's University's Scottish campus in Edinburgh.

- Testimonials from students
- Meet the course leaders
- How to access funding
- Q&A

Register at https://bit.ly/theologywebinar

The Archdiocese can confirm that SAAS funding is available from April for all Scottish students taking the MA in Applied Catholic Theology course 2024/25.

The course is offered by St Mary’s University in partnership with the Archdiocese at the Gillis Centre in Edinburgh.

To register/enquire visit https://www.stmarys.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate/applied-catholic-theology.

'The Risen Lord has made his home among us' 

Here is the Homily of Archbishop Leo Cushley from The Easter Vigil (30 March) at St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral, Edinburgh.

"My dear friends,

A very happy Easter to you all!  Tonight, we hear with the greatest joy the readings of our Vigil, and we listen to moments of salvation history and catch glimpses of the hand of God in human affairs, now gently, now strongly, bringing us towards the Incarnation, the birth of Christ and His saving death and resurrection.

Our first reading, from Genesis, is the ever-green, ever-beautiful story of the how we all came to be.

You and I all stand here because, in some way, in some impossibly far-off time, life was born in our world.

The inanimate became animate, matter became aware, and self-conscious, and learned to speak, to love, to remember and to build.

The very word, “animate” tells us of a soul being awakened within us and of the growth of something, someone, that was always intended to be worthy of the Creator, a creature that could love God in return for his or her very existence.

Genesis, unaware of future science, gives us instead a picture of relationships, of love and hate, of good and evil, of right and wrong.

It is eternally wise and inspiring, profound and thought provoking. And among its many lessons, it urges us to be better than we know ourselves to be.

All that we are longs to be in harmony with God and with his creation; and tonight, God puts all things right, restores all things, and welcomes us back.

The struggle for goodness and righteousness takes us past Abraham and Isaac and we then come to the story of the people of Israel crossing the Red Sea.

This story tells of Israel’s liberation, and it is used by Christians to see God’s hand in our own liberation from sin and death through the waters, not of the Red Sea, but of Baptism.

Make your way to the light.  Free yourselves and return to the Lord!

We always read it here, on this night, because tonight it becomes a reality for us, as we baptise people in the waters of death and new life.

The next reading we heard tonight is from the prophet Baruch.

It starts with a paragraph that is one big, long question: Why, Israel, are you still in the country of your enemies?  Why are you counted among those who prefer death? What have done with your freedom?

The Lord then says, Leave all that behind; learn instead “where knowledge is, where strength, where understanding, and so learn where length of days is, where life, where the light of the eyes, and where peace.”

Make your way to the light.  Free yourselves and return to the Lord!

We then listen to Paul reminding us what Baptism really means.

And it isn’t just about sin or washing off a little dirt. His opening line is, “When we were baptized, we were baptized into his […] death; in other words, when we were baptized, we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that […] we might live a new life”.

This really is about life and death.

In Baptism, we become part of God’s plan to bring us back to him, back to life, back to a sense of gratitude, the gratitude and simple, good happiness of children for all the good things God has done for us, starting with the gifts of life and light and love.

And the key which unlocks the doors to new life, to a new relationship with God, with each other, with the whole of God’s good creation, starts with the rolling away of the stone at the Empty Tomb.

Be confident that the Lord and his Spirit will always accompany you.

The women go to the Tomb, the stone is rolled back, and a wonderful new chapter of creation’s story begins.

And where will we see this unfold today?

Do we have to go to Jerusalem to see it and experience it, or travel to the ends of the universe, or peer into telescopes for a glimpse of the beginning of time?

No, we’ll find it right here.  Here at this font.  Here in our faith in the risen Lord.  Here in our homes.

Not for nothing does the young man in white at the Empty Tomb tell the terrified women to go and tell Jesus’ disciples not to look for him in the Tomb.

He tells them, and he tells us, Jesus “is going before you to Galilee, it is there you will see him, just as he told you”.

Galilee is of course a real place, many of us have been there and seen it for ourselves.

But Galilee can also stand in the Gospels for home.

In contrast to Judea, a place of confrontation and hostility, and even of Jesus’ death, Galilee stands for the home of Jesus and his disciples.

It stands for a place where we are safe, a place where we will meet Jesus, if we would only go and look for him.

Jesus, the risen Lord, has made his home among us.

He walks among us, even in our most familiar paths. We ought to make a home for him in our own Galilee, in our own home, in our hearts.

Finally, to you who are about to become Catholic Christians, we pray that tonight you will be filled with joy.

Tonight, my friends, you are coming home, and the risen Lord will be there to welcome you.

As you enter into Life in Christ, learn to listen for the Lord’s voice, and learn to recognise him, especially in the places most familiar to you.

And be confident that the Lord and his Spirit will always accompany you.

A very happy Easter to you all!"

Good Friday: 'Imitate St John’s love for his dying Master'

Here is Archbishop Leo Cushley's homily from Celebration of the Lord's Passion at St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, Good Friday, 29 March 2024.

My dear friends,

As we always do on Good Friday, we listen to St John’s account of the Lord’s Passion.

Of the four Gospels, John’s is the only personal, eye-witness account.

Matthew, Mark and Luke’s account stand a step removed from what they relate, for example, telling us second-hand of Peter’s account of events, but not their own.

Of the four Gospels, then, only John is able to tell us what he has seen.

He also has a clear purpose in mind.

This is not merely memoir of something long ago, recorded by him as an old man at the end of his life. He does so with a reason, and he tells us what this is.

In fact, he tells us his purpose, right at the moment that Jesus dies on the cross and taken down from it.

John believes that Jesus is the Son of God; that he came into the world to die like this to save us; and that he rose from the dead three days later.

He believes in Jesus.

He tell us that he leaves us this account as “the evidence of one who saw it, trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth”.

He believes. And he writes it all down here, “so that you may believe as well”.

John is our first-hand witness to what has just happened.

He is standing there, watching Jesus die.

Jesus’s mother is there, some of the other women are there, but John is the only man to be brave enough to remain, and it is he who records all this for us.

He is our eyes and ears.

We know John is a close friend of Jesus.

John wasn’t the leader of the twelve – that was always Peter, nicknamed Cephas, the Rock, from the very start – but John has a special place, and it’s right beside Jesus.

We know he is close to him, in affection, morally, and spiritually.

We can be fully confident that John will tell us everything he can recall of his friend’s love, of his suffering, of his every word and gesture.

He sees Jesus through the affectionate eyes of a brother, a true friend, a son, a disciple.

And of all the disciples, John brings something else to the story of Good Friday. He is someone who has access: he is known to the high priest and the priestly families.

John is known among them to be a disciple of Jesus; and so it is he who gets Peter into the high priest’s house, where the first part of Jesus’ trial takes place.

Peter wants to follow Jesus, but he does so discreetly, while John is not afraid.

Strangely, because John gets Peter into the High Priest’s house, Peter’s connection to John makes a serving girl ask him if he is “another of that man’s disciples”.

We usually take this to be a suspicious question, but it could just as easily have been a simple question, as Peter was clearly there because of John, and John does not appear to be afraid to be there at all.

So, it turns out that John was a known disciple of Jesus, and never denies it; but when Peter is asked, he denies it three times and runs away.

We are used to noticing Peter, but if we flip it round, we notice John, who stays; it’s John that follows the Lord where he goes; and on this occasion that path takes Jesus to the Cross. And John goes there too.

So, while Peter and the others flee, John is left there with Jesus, at the end.

This is the action of a very brave man, of a completely loyal friend, of a disciple, of a believer. John even accompanies Our Lady and takes care of her in this most terrible moment.

Here is a human drama as well as a cosmic one. And yet John stays on, in spite of the torture and death of his friend and Master, and the obvious risk to himself.

But back to a small point I made at the start.

In St John, at the death of Jesus, we are at one of the rarest of moments in the Gospels. What I mean is this. John is our first-hand witness to what has just happened. He tells us what he has seen.

And then, he looks directly at us. He involves you and me in the story.

Not only was John there, he addresses us directly, personally. He starts, “All this is the evidence of one who saw it, trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth”. And then he turns to you and me, and adds that he gives this evidence, “so that you may believe as well”.

The evangelist looks up from writing and remembering Jesus in his very agony on the Cross.

And he turns and says to you, I’ve written all this and been through all this, and lived the rest of my life as Jesus’s faithful disciple and friend.

I was there and I’ve written all this here – so that you may believe as well.

On Calvary, he turns from Christ on the Cross, and he looks at you and me, and he says, This unique event fulfils God’s wonderful plan. I believe it - and write it down for you, so that you may believe as well.

Through his own loyalty and love, through his faith and personal witness, John makes us witness of Jesus’s death.

Let’s imitate John’s loyalty and love for his dying friend and Master.

Like John, let’s believe and trust again in God’s great plan for us, even as Jesus is taken down from the Cross and is placed in the Tomb.

Archbishop Cushley will preside at the Easter Vigil at 7:00pm on Saturday and at the Easter Sunday Mass at midday, both at St Mary's Cathedral.

Deeply Devoted

This event will throw light on the background and efficacy of the prayers and practices in bringing us closer to God and helping us to live a life of holiness.

From the Holy Rosary, to Eucharistic Adoration, to the simple act of lighting a candle for a loved one, the Catholic tradition is rich in devotional practices.

The main speaker is Fr Kevin Douglas, who will speak on Devotions in the morning. We will also hear from Deacon Paul Brady of Glasgow Archdiocese.

Register here for this FREE event.

The event takes place on Saturday 27 April 2024 at The Gillis Centre, 100 Strathearn Road, Edinburgh, EH9 1BB (map below).

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SCHEDULE

Morning

10:30am: Doors open/ tea & coffee

11:00am: Unpacking Catholic Devotions, with Fr Kevin Douglas

11:45am: Choice of sessions led by Catechetical Commission members:

1. Delving into the Divine Mercy: origins and practice of this beautiful and increasingly popular devotion.

2. A Saint for all Seasons: exploring devotion to saints - and how to find the one for you.

12:30pm: Lunch (light lunch provided).*

Afternoon

1:15pm: Talk and Q&A session led by Deacon Paul Brady on Sacramentals: exploring why Catholics use candles, statues, prayer cards, holy medals, rituals and lots more.

2:00pm: There’s Something about Mary: exploring Marian devotion.

2:30pm: Guided devotional prayer in St Margaret’s Chapel: The Divine Mercy followed by a decade of the Rosary and Marian prayers.

3:00pm: End.

This a free event, open to all. There is free parking onsite.

*Free lunch provided (small sandwiches and fruit). If you have food allergies/intolerances please being a packed lunch.

Deeply Devoted is organised by the Catechetics Commission of the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh. Queries: please email Christine Clark at chrissyclark77@aol.com

Easter Triduum at St Mary's Cathedral

The Sacred Triduum begins on Thursday. While Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday are not holy days of obligation, all are encouraged to attend these special liturgies in preparation for Easter.

On Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper is at 7:00pm with Archbishop Cushley, and is followed by a procession with the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose, with watching until Night Prayer at 11:00pm.

Good Friday is a day of fasting and abstinence which means that all Catholics are obliged to abstain from meat, and all adults between 16 and 65 are obliged to fast. The Passion Liturgy will be held at 3:00pm by Archbishop Cushley. For those who cannot attend, there will be Stations of the Cross at 7:00pm.

On Holy Saturday His Grace will celebrate the Easter Vigil Mass at 7:00pm and 19 catechumens and candidates will be received into Full Communion with the Catholic Church at this Mass.

Summary

Thursday 28 March | 7:00pm Mass of the Lord's Supper.

Friday 29 March | 3:00pm The Passion Liturgy.

Saturday 30 March | 7:00pm Holy Saturday at the Tomb of Christ.

Sunday 31 March | Noon Easter Sunday of the Ressurection of the Lord.

For more details of services and Masses over Easter at St Mary's Cathedral please visit: stmaryscathedral.co.uk/news

WATCH: The Passion in St John's Gospel

Mgr Patrick Burke, of St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh, dives into the the Passion in St John's Gospel in this special Holy Week talk.

Watch now on YouTube or below.